Post-Processing of DuraForm� Polyamide with Small-Scale Features




Zarringhalam, Hadi
Hopkinson, Neil

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In recent years layer manufacturing processes have evolved from Rapid Prototyping (the production of pre-production prototypes) to Rapid Manufacture (the production of end use parts) where limitations of the processes do not affect end use. There is no doubt that applications for Rapid Manufacture will grow in coming years, however there are a number of current limitations that will need to be addressed so as to maximise the scope for Rapid Manufacturing applications. One of the main limitations for the adoption of Rapid Manufacturing is material properties of the parts produced. This research has looked at the possibility of increasing the range of material properties that may be achieved from parts made using current commercial Laser Sintering systems. A series of tensile and impact test parts were built using DuraformTM powder on a 3DSystems Vanguard machine. These parts were then subjected to various form of post-processing including thermal treatment and infiltration with polymer infiltrants. The parts were subjected to tensile and impact tests with results showing that thermal post-processing achieved preferable results when compared with infiltration. Heating above the glass transition temperature yielded superior results though as the melt temperature was approached issues of deformation arose. These initial results have formed the basis for further work to consider how material properties for Rapid Manufacture by Laser Sintering may be improved.



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